By: Corson Dental
Having good dental hygiene is an important part of your overall health. Your mouth has a complicated system of microbes and minerals that need to be taken care of if you want to avoid unwarranted trips to the dentist. If you take care of your dental health, you’ll be avoiding disease, pain, discomfort, and discoloring.
Here are some essential dental hygiene tips for healthy teeth and gums.
1. Floss, and floss often
Flossing every day is essential, not just once a month or once a week. It may seem like a chore but over 30 percent of Americans never floss and dental health issues are high because of this. Flossing removes plaque and bits of food from areas where your toothbrush cannot reach. If you don’t do this, you’re more likely to suffer from tooth decay and gum disease.
2. Reduce non-essential drinks
Consuming sugary drinks is unhealthy for your oral hygiene. The issue isn’t just the sugar being consumed; diet sodas are equally bad for your teeth. This is because soda contains phosphorus, a chemical that begins depleting your teeth and bones of calcium. This results in increased rates of tooth decay, higher chances of gum disease, and even an increased chances of osteoporosis.
You should also reduce your alcohol intake as a way of maintaining healthy teeth. Alcohol dries out your mouth, preventing your saliva from fighting bacteria and leaving your teeth particularly prone to the effects of acid. If you’re mixing drinks with soda or lemon, this will enhance the damage. People who drink alcohol often are actually three times more likely to have permanently tooth loss.
If you do consume soda and alcohol, try using a straw so the liquid can bypass your teeth. There are plenty of reusable and eco straws you can use to save the environment, something we strongly suggest.
3) Brush thoroughly (including mouth and tongue)
Brushing twice a day is pretty ingrained in the collective mindset but a lot of people don’t brush their teeth and cheeks. Bacteria reside in all areas of your mouth, not just your teeth, so you need to be mindful of this when you brush and really clean all parts of your mouth. Cleaning your tongue and cheeks may directly reduce the amount of plaque present on your teeth.
Some suggest to avoid fluoride completely. However, it is important to brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste at least 2-3 times a week. Research shows this is best for oral health. Alternative toothpastes frequently use baking soda. However, baking soda has been shown to grind away at your teeth. We suggest limiting the use of baking soda.
Be sure you wait at least half an hour before brushing after consuming acidic foods or drinks like coffee. This is because your teeth are especially volatile directly after consumption and brushing at these times causes more trauma and damage during these periods than help.
4. Use mouthwash
Brushing and flossing regularly is all well and good but there are some corners of your mouth that are just impossible to reach with bristles and string. This is where mouthwash comes in. Mouthwashes go through every tiny crack in your mouth and significantly reduce your plaque percentage.
It’s best not to use the mouthwash directly after you’ve cleaned as it will wash away all the helpful fluoride the toothpaste left on your teeth. Instead, use it in the middle of the day, so you’re in between brushes. After lunch is a good time to use mouthwash as you’ll be fighting off all of your lunchtime bacteria. You should be waiting thirty minutes before eating or drinking after using mouthwash.
5. Visit the dentist
You should be visiting the dentist at least twice a year. Often problems are brewing in your mouth that you’re not even aware of until it’s too late. Regular checkups at the dentist can help prevent them from escalating into cavities and issues that can become worse.
Dentists can take preventative measures like taking x-rays, professionally cleaning your teeth, and filling in any small holes before they widen and cause problems.
There are a lot of ways to clean your teeth at home, but your dentist is a professional and really knows how to take care of your mouth. Follow these tips for optimal oral health and overall prevention of medical conditions.
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Corson Dental is a high-tech practice based in Tauranga, NZ, offering general and cosmetic dental procedures and Smile Makeovers. Visit www.corsondental.co.nz for more information.